Twenty years after the first FIA Junior World Rally Championship got under way, the series returns with a five round series in 2021 starting with the Croatia Rally.
The crews will battle it out in identical M-Sport Poland-built Ford Fiesta Rally4 cars, visiting Portugal, Estonia, Belgium and Spain to complete the championship. Championship manager Maciej Woda said,:
“We have championship contenders from last year going up against championship contenders from years gone by and other well-known junior championships. Normally it’s pretty clear who our strongest contenders are when going into the first round of the championship but this year it’s not the case.”
We round up the experienced field of youngsters entering the championship in 2021 below.
The entry list is headed by 2020 runner up Martin Sesks, who will be competing in his third FIA Junior World Rally Championship (JWRC) season. The Latvian scored his first win in Estonia last year and finish on the podium on three of the four events in 2020. This year marks the final year of a three year plan for the youngster, with the main aim to take home the title.
Making his JWRC debut at just 17 on the 2019 Rally Finland, Sami finished third in last years championship and took home the Rookie Award. A strong start to 2021 in his homeland of Finland wining two events sees the youngster full of confidence ahead of the new season.
The Romanian enters his fourth and final season in the JWRC, looking to put together a more consistent season after a 2020 entry that was, like for many, interupted by the global pandemic.
Estonia’s Robert Virves returns after a one off entry last year on his home event thanks to a crowd-funding campaign. Leading the event until a puncture on the final day denied him victory, Virves could be a wildcard for this years championship.
Having a similar debut tale to Virves, Lauri Joona returns after making his JWRC debut in Sweden last year. Lying third overall until a puncture on the final stage ended his podium dream. Having won the junior title in Finland, he returns with the Flying Finn Future Star Award under his belt.
One of the most experienced JWRC drivers returns after a huge crash in Sweden last year ended his season early. The 2018 WRC eSports champion will be looking to show the pace that earned him a top 10 finish in WRC in Spain 2017.
With the most experience of anyone in the JWRC, Koci returns having been competing in the championship dating back to 2012 ad has started 19 events. Finishing third in 2014 and second in 2016, he will be looking to go that one step higher in 2021.
In complete contrast, William Creighton has no JWRC starts to his name and will make his full international debut. This will be his first full campaign outside of national championships in the UK and his native Ireland.